I am Assistant Professor in the departments of English, Anthropology, East Asian Languages & Literatures, and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. I am also core faculty in the PhD program in Culture & Theory, core faculty in the Global Cultures undergraduate major, and an affiliate faculty member in the Center for Critical Korean Studies.
As an interdisciplinary scholar, the overarching goal of my research has been the examination of the cultural politics of globalization, with a particular focus on questions of “language” and “nation,” oftentimes seeking to understand their interrelationships. In terms of “language,” I focus on the politics of multilingualism and “global” Englishes from both theoretical-sociolinguistic and pedagogical angles. In terms of “nation,” I have focused on the official and vernacular functions and forms of ethnic identity in the context of and in spaces beyond the rubric of the nation-state. I have published on these topics in a range of journals, including Verge: Studies in Global Asias, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, College Composition and Communication, College English, National Identities, and Critical Inquiry in Language Studies.
My monograph, The Politics of Translingualism: After Englishes (Routledge, 2017), attends to the politics of evaluating language, including different Englishes, at a moment of unprecedented linguistic plurality worldwide. It draws on analyses of a wide range of artifacts, from television commercials, social media comments, contemporary and canonical poetry, contemporary and historical English phrasebooks, commercial shop signs, and the writing of multilingual university students. It argues for an ongoing need to confront the metadiscourse of plurality and difference in Englishes and to reevaluate not “different” Englishes themselves but to reevaluate the very epistemologies of evaluation in the first place.
For my second monograph, I am completing a study of how diaspora communities use public signage and other semiotic and material resources to reconfigure and recalibrate urban spatial environments to sustain affective ties to national heritage while re-inventing new forms of cultural identification and practice. I focus on the Korean and diasporic Korean contexts across Asia (South Korea, China, Japan, Hong Kong) and the Americas (United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil). An earlier portion of this project is published in the journal Verge: Studies in Global Asias as an article titled “Semioscapes, Unbanality, and the Re-Invention of Nationness: Global Korea as Nation-Space.”
I additionally have co-edited a volume on Korean Englishes in Transnational Contexts (Palgrave MacMillan, 2017). This interdisciplinary project gathers scholars from a range of language-related fields including applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, literature, composition/rhetoric, and cultural studies. The collection considers how the performance of, and ideological commitments to, the English language within transnational contexts symbolize the complex ways in which globalizing factors and transcultural flows interface with linguistic actions and practices.